Canadian tapped as new UN rights expert on Palestinian territories

AFP , Wednesday 23 Mar 2016

The UN Human Rights Council chief on Wednesday nominated a Canadian law professor to a controversial post surveying the rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Council president Choi Kyonglim circulated a letter to member states proposing that Stanley Michael Lynk be appointed to the position of special rapporteur, and the council was expected to accept the appointment Thursday without a vote.

Lynk would replace Makarim Wibisono, who announced in January he would step down over Israel's refusal to cooperate with his mandate and not allowing him access to the areas he was meant to monitor.

Wibisono, an Indonesian diplomat who took on the role in June 2014, presented his final report to the council on Monday, criticising a "lack of cooperation (that) regrettably seems to signal the continuation of a situation under which Palestinians suffer daily human rights violations under the Israeli occupation."

The mandate is controversial, since it is limited to investigating Israel's violations.

Wibisono's predecessor Richard Falk was also blocked from accessing the Palestinian territories, and it remains unclear if Lynk will be able to do so.

Israel has a tense relationship with the Human Rights Council, which it accuses of having a built-in bias against it.

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